I recently returned from my 4th annual Food as Medicine Conference (FAM), a training program for health professionals to effectively integrate nutrition into their practices. I like to think of this community as my professional family. The 4-day program includes cutting edge presentations given by leading Functional Medicine and Integrative doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, social and environmental activists as well as incredible lunches created by Culinary Director Rebecca Katz. Two years ago Rebecca formed a team of us Cooks on Call (COC), Culinary Nutrition Educators, who help translate the science of nutrition in the kitchen. It’s one thing when doctors tell their patients to eat kale but it’s a whole other ballgame when they can tell that patient 5 different ways to prepare it.
We often forget that skin is one of our organs and also the largest one. It acts as a barrier between our internal organs and the outside world with all its aggressions, and we should take good care of it. When we get sunburned not only do we damage our skin immediately (do I have to remind you about the pain, the burning sensation, the unbearable contact of clothes and sheets, the horrible looking peeling, etc.?) but also in the long-run. The long-term consequences are even worse when sunburns occur during childhood and repeatedly. We all know we have to use sunscreens and avoid the hours of the day when the sun is the strongest, and wear a hat and so on — but do we? Well, I am embarrassed to admit I failed the test not so long ago and got one BAD sunburn. I got it all wrong. Add first sun exposure of the year, no sunscreen, worst time of the day, and you get — the lobster woman.
One of the most important lessons I communicate to my clients is that eating a wholesome, balanced diet doesn’t mean sacrificing taste… or even treats! You can incorporate healthy snacks that are nourishing and delicious into your meal plan.
I am no stranger to intense cancer experiences. I have been following my own healing path since a brain tumor diagnosis in 1998, a journey that has included three awake brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy plus hundreds of integrative cancer therapies. Along the way, I have discovered my lifetime purpose is to help others affected by cancer. Attendance at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s training events with James Gordon, MD specifically emphasized the importance of self-care strategies and supplied valuable tools that have enabled me to assist others with their quest for healing.